The Future Technology Disney Predicted Right and Wrong Back in the 80s

The Future Technology Disney Predicted Right and Wrong Back in the 80s

If you’re stumbling onto this blog for the first time I’ll preface this post with…this is really random but I felt compelled to write it nonetheless.

Last night my kids were talking to my mom on Facetime on my iPhone. I was cooking dinner and they were telling her about their soccer game and other things. As I was cooking dinner my mom made a comment about how long my hair was and I just smiled and waved as I continued to cook dinner. The entire scene seemed very familiar, it was very Deja Vu-like. A little while later a memory hit me of watching a very similar scene as a child when on a Disney World ride. The scene in my memory was of a Disney World attraction where they showed what the technology of the future might hold. I specifically remember watching in awe as a family was speaking to their grandparents on live video at a birthday party perhaps? The family lived in what seemed like outer space and the grandparents lived in what seemed like a futuristic city, at least, that’s what my 10-year-old memory had remembered. Here’s the kicker, I remember thinking how cool yet improbable that was to be communicating that way yet here we were essentially communicating exactly like that not even 20 years later. It made me start thinking, what else did Disney World get right?

My first task was to figure out the name of that ride so I could research it. Interestingly enough, Disney itself as well as many Disney super fans have catalogued almost every retired or demolitioned attraction ever built. My biggest problem was remembering  if the ride I had encountered was at Disney World or Epcot since I knew I had visited both. I finally stumbled upon a name that was familiar, Horizons, which indeed was a ride that was created in 1983 at Epcot. After I knew the name it was easy to find all the information I wanted about it mainly because some of the super fans are actually super fans of the ride itself! Enough so that they created and dedicated entire websites for Horizons and had gone through the stuff when the ride was demolished in 1999. Some of these fans even raved about their most precious moments when they met the actors who were in the videos on the ride in the most fan geek fashion. (See for yourself).

Anyway, after a little digging here’s what I came up with that Disney got right and wrong 20 years down the line. Keep in mind that I’m in no way a scientist so I’m speaking from what the general society sees in everyday mainstream…not what someone is doing in a lab because for all I know they are cooking up some crystals somewhere right now that really can heal you but as of today I still can’t buy any at CVS.

What “Future” Technology Disney Predicted and Got Right

FaceTime and the Like

Horizons predicting Facetime

With the dawn of Skype, Chromecast and of course Apple people have been communicating very similar to how Disney depicted back in the 80s.

Aeroponic Gardening

Aeroponic Garden

Photo Lamanda Joy

If you’ve been to the Chicago Airport lately you’ve perhaps seen in Terminal 3 the first ever airport aeroponic garden which is used to supply the Airport restaurants. This is a type of gardening that is used to grow plants without soil.  Disney had an almost identical layout to the real life picture above on the Horizons ride.



Drones in desert

On the Horizons ride, Disney had Drones helping out farmers in the desert gardens. Drones have been used to do any number of things but typically are used today as more of a resource to see something we typically can’t. However, with the rapid evolution of these things I’ll give Disney this credit because it’s only a matter of time until we start recruiting them to do things as depicted in the ride.

Virtual Reality Cycle Trainer

There is a quick screenshot of someone exercising on a bike in the space station/city. The cycling trainer is essentially hooked up to a VR screen. Although we’re not all living on a space station plenty of people do use trainers such as CycleOps, Peoloton Cycle to perform virtual training.

A Few Casual Narrator Quotes that Ring True

At one point the narrator of the ride says,“We sent our daughter to college for seven years and what happens? She becomes a farmer!” I think parents would and do make that statement. Don’t you?

underwater class

While visiting the underwater city on the ride there is a classroom of kids all suited up in their scuba gear. They’re hanging out with a seal and the teacher is preparing them for their underwater adventure at which point she asks,“What’s the most important tool while underwater?” The answer she corrects a student is “good judgement.” As a mom I’d agree that if there ever was an underwater city that good judgement is the most important tool. Point Disney.

The Future Technology Disney Predicted and Got Wrong

Life Below Sea

We’re still landlubbers in 2015 and other than a few novelty hotel rooms under water and very expensive submersibles to purchase not much civilization is forming within the ocean…..yet.

Marine Mining Cities

I know of ocean drilling rigs but as far as I know underwater floating cities have not been built around these rigs to support infrastructure.


Lots of talk about crystals in the future for Disney. Perhaps they know something we don’t?

Relive the Ride Horizons Through the Technology of YouTube

Little did Disney know that us future humans would be able to share home videos on a massive scale instantaneously through a technology known to the world as “YouTube.” If you’d like to watch the ride via the lens of a past ride-goer here is the video where you can do just that.


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Natalie is a content creator and strategist at Happy Place Marketing. She has worked in lead generation since 2005 and has a passion for fitness. She turned that passion into a startup and is the co-founder of Ramblen, a website that helps people stay fit while they travel. In 2014, she became an ACE certified personal trainer and in 2015 she earned her certified content marketer status from Copyblogger. When she's not working she's probably out on a run, or a bike ride, maybe swimming.


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